Last-second goal seals RMAC title for Mavs
DENVER — Talk about saving the best for last.
Already coming off of two incredible finishes in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Tournament, Colorado Mesa University’s men’s soccer team somehow found a way to go even bigger. Facing top-seeded Regis University on its home field in the tourney title game, the Mavericks trailed nearly the whole way before tying the game in the final three minutes of regulation.
Then, with 2.9 seconds remaining in the second overtime and a shootout looming, Oliver Querin managed to rip a pass from teammate Spencer Jackson into the back of the net. The goal set off a wild celebration as fans stormed the field to celebrate the 2-1 victory and the program’s first conference tournament championship.
The Mavericks (13-5-3) will have to wait for this evening’s NCAA Division II Men’s Soccer Selection Show to find out if they made the national tournament. There is no automatic qualifier from the RMAC, but CMU coach Josh Pittman believes his squad has proved itself worthy.
“I feel like we should be in the national tournament. We finished tied for second in points and won the conference (tournament) championship,” Pittman said. “This conference is arguably the most challenging conference in the country.”
The nail-biter came on the heels of a shootout victory over UC-Colorado Springs in the quarterfinals, followed by a rally that featured two goals in the final five minutes in CMU’s semifinal against Colorado School of Mines.
“These last three games, it’s like a story of our team, a team that never puts their head down if we go down a goal,” said Mavs junior Tim Hofer, who was honored as the RMAC tourney MVP. “A team that always believes, and it shows. This team is something else, and I’m so grateful to be a part of it.”
Querin, Marco Escobar, Michael Bagheri and goalkeeper Micah Conrads joined Hofer on the all-tournament team.
Regis (13-3-1) took the lead in the seventh minute of play on Martin Maybin’s 17th goal of the season. That lead held up for nearly 81 minutes until Hofer, who had the game-winning goal against Mines, beat goalie Connor Adkisson for the tying goal with 2:41 remaining in regulation.
“It was kind of a cluster in the box, and the Regis player missed clearing it,” Hofer said. “I just happened to get on the end of it. I couldn’t have done it any better without my team behind me.”
Regis was further hurt after Joseph Terry received his second yellow card, which resulted in a soft red card, with 15 seconds remaining in regulation. That gave Colorado Mesa a man-advantage in overtime.
“I think our heart mattered more than the man-advantage,” Querin said. “Regis is a very good team, and they’re going to play good with nine, 10 or 11 players. I think it was our heart that won the game.”
Querin showed that in the closing seconds. With time about to expire, Jackson sent a ball into the middle in front of the net, and Querin cleaned it up with the winner.
“To be honest I wasn’t even paying attention to the time. It was just another play, and we fight all the way until the end,” he said. “Spencer did a great job to get around that guy, and I was just there to turn it in.”
RMAC women’s soccer
Backed by goals from freshman Anna Deleray and senior Anna Evans, the second-ranked Colorado School of Mines women’s soccer team captured its third consecutive RMAC Tournament title Saturday with a 2-1 victory over Fort Lewis in Golden.
The Orediggers (19-0-1) are on a 34-game unbeaten streak and became the first squad to capture the RMAC regular-season and tournament titles since Metro State in 2008.